Local NAACP members gathered outside the Wayne County Courthouse Thursday respond to Republican State Representative Stephen LaRoque's allegations that the state NAACP and its leader, William Barber, are racist, and that he and the organization represent everything that's wrong with race relations in the state.
The NAACP members that attended the press conference say the organization is not racist, and say LaRoque's allegations are just a way to distract people from legislative issues like unemployment benefits, jobs and education cuts. The NAACP is demanding an apology from LaRoque.
Representative LaRoque says he stands by what he said.
LaRoque says Barber wrote an email on May 14, saying the Tea Party had taken over the Republican party and had declared war on African Americans and other minorities, which he says is proof that the NAACP is a racist organization. He also says the group uses race to get funding and should be dissolved.
NAACP branch members say they don't use race to get funding or influence others, and say they work for the good of everyone in the state.
NAACP Branches in Wayne, Lenoir and Greene counties plan to respond to racist allegations by a state lawmaker.
A press conference is planned for Thursday at the Wayne County Courthouse. The meeting was scheduled to begin at noon.
Last week, Republican State Representative Stephen Laroque, of Kinston, sent an email to the NAACP expressing his opinion of the group. The email came just one day after the group's leader, Rev. William Barber, was arrested at the General Assembly.
Laroque told state government radio that the NAACP derives its funding and influence from race-baiting.
An Eastern North Carolina lawmaker has characterized the NAACP and the head of the state chapter as "racist," and says that he and the organization represent everything that's wrong with race relations in the state and nation.
Republican Rep. Stephen LaRoque of Kinston, representing Lenoir, Wayne & Greene Counties, sent an e-mail to the organization last week expressing his opinion of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and state chapter president the Rev. William Barber. A day after Barber was arrested at the General Assembly for protesting proposed budget cuts by Republicans, LaRoque spoke to State Government Radio. He said the NAACP derives its funding and influence from race-baiting.
Barber told WRAL-TV Friday he was shocked by LaRoque's comments, but would not engage in what he called "the politics of yesterday."